Refugee Advocates Brief HHS Committee on Resettlement Programs (PHOTO)

The Montgomery County Council Health and Human Services Committee held a meeting on Thursday to discuss resettlement programs for refugees and asylum seekers. The meeting took place in the third floor conference room at the Council office building in Rockville.

According to data from the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees, 2,256 refugees and 2,181 asylees resettled in Montgomery County between fiscal years 2010 and 2014 . The majority of refugees are from Iraq while most asylees are from Ethiopia.

An eight member panel updated Committee Chair George Leventhal and Councilmember Craig Rice on relocation programs and different types of assistance.  The top issues discussed include affordable housing, work placement, childcare, food assistance, and education programs. The panel included representatives from the Ethiopian Community Development Council, the International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Services Center, the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, and the International Cultural Center.HHS Committee

Kaori Hirakawa is the Program Manager at the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity.

“We welcome everyone and we do our best to help them. We provide English classes, [information about] citizenship and we also have a legal clinic. All these things would help immigrants survive and then hopefully resettle in this country….We do hear [about] a lot of housing issues because its so expensive to live in Montgomery County. If you’re starting your life over with a minimum wage job, how can you afford to pay $1,300 a month for rent, and feed yourself, get clean clothes and all the other things,” Hirakawa said.

Nouf Bazaz is the Crossroads Program Director for the International Cultural Center in Gaithersburg.

A lot of the people that we work with, youth and adults, the thing that they’re struggling with is that they’re placed in very distressing environments. Any of us placed in their situation would find it very troubling and distressing. Whether it’s issues [with] their families, employment, language or housing. These are all things that take a considerable toll on them,” Bazaz said.

Related:

Takoma Park Officials to Host Forum on Sanctuary City Status on Feb. 4

photo of Takoma Park sign

Takoma Park City officials and several community organizations will host an event entitled, “Takoma Park: Sanctuary City Then & Now.” This meeting comes after federal executive orders were signed by President Donald Trump on immigration. The forum, scheduled for Feb. 4, will allow residents to learn what the Sanctuary Ordinance and its amendments mean and […]

Read more

Local Faith-Based Leaders Discuss Priorities for Helping Refugees and Immigrants in Rockville (VIDEO)

Welcoming Our New Neighbors

Dozens of leaders and residents representing various faith groups, gathered at the Rockville Presbyterian Church early Tuesday to discuss priorities and goals for helping immigrants within the County. “We’re providing resources for the over 30 faith communities that are currently engaged in welcoming refugees and working with immigrants and children fleeing violence,” said Mansfield Kaseman, […]

Read more

Montgomery College President Releases Statement on Executive Order on Immigration Restrictions

Dr DeRionne Pollard

Montgomery College President Dr. DeRionne Pollard has released the following statement regarding the recent executive orders signed by President Donald Trump on immigration: “As you undoubtedly know, the President issued an executive order on Friday, January 27, that denies entry to the United States to travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen […]

Read more

Refugee Advocates Brief HHS Committee on Resettlement Programs (PHOTO)

HHS Committee 2

The Montgomery County Council Health and Human Services Committee held a meeting on Thursday to discuss resettlement programs for refugees and asylum seekers. The meeting took place in the third floor conference room at the Council office building in Rockville. According to data from the Maryland Office for Refugees and Asylees, 2,256 refugees and 2,181 […]

Read more

Five Things to Know Today, Feb. 4, in Montgomery County

Five Things List-03 for slider

A Dense Fog Advisory is in effect until 7 a.m. today. Here are five more things to know today, Feb. 4, in Montgomery County: 1. The Montgomery County Board of Education (BOE) is set to announce the “conditional appointment” of the next MCPS superintendent at a special meeting tonight. Follow @MyMCMedia on Twitter for the […]

Read more

HHS Committee to Receive Update on Refugee Resettlement

Montgomery County Council Building

The Montgomery County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee will hold a meeting on refugees and people seeking asylum on Thursday. The committee will discuss available services for refugees, asylum seekers, and receive an update from resettlement organizations. Participants include the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Lutheran Social Services, all of […]

Read more

Rockville Mayor and Council Support Refugees Around the World

Rockville City Hall

Recognizing Rockville as a “welcoming and inclusive community,” the Mayor and Council voted unanimously this week to endorse Montgomery County’s support for refugees from Syria and from around the world. The full motion said: “The Mayor and Council affirms Rockville’s role as a welcoming and inclusive community. We believe that the diversity of our residents […]

Read more

Montgomery County Executive and County Council Voice Support for Syrian Refugees (PHOTO)

COUNTY COUNCIL 2015

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council recently sent a letter to Robert Carey, the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to affirm the County’s policy to support and welcome refugees into the community from Syria and around the world. Leggett and the […]

Read more

County Faith Leaders React to Gov. Larry Hogan's Syrian Refugee Statement (VIDEO)

Faith Forum_11-17-15

The Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Council hosted a faith forum at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville on Nov. 17th. Maureen Chowdhury reports.

Read more

Gaithersburg Doctor: "I Felt Like I Needed to Help" (VIDEO)

US Doctor   We Need to Do Our Part  for Refugees   YouTube

A Gaithersburg doctor, Meena Hasan, spent a week of her vacation helping refugees as they came ashore in Lesbos, Greece. She talks about her experiences and what she wants others to know in this Associated Press video interview, below:

Read more
Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

Comments

| No comments yet.



Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter